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UB Reporter


Updated July 23, 2015

Giovino named to FDA’s tobacco advisory committee

Published May 14, 2015

Gary Giovino, professor and chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions, has been appointed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee.

Giovino will serve as one of nine qualified voting members on the committee, which advises the FDA in its regulation of tobacco products.  

As a member of the advisory committee, Giovino will help evaluate safety, dependence and health issues relating to tobacco products, and will provide advice, information and recommendations to the commissioner of food and drugs. The committee also can provide recommendations on other matters related to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Giovino has extensive experience in tobacco research. He started his career at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the 1970s and early 1980s working in the smoking cessation clinic and studying physician training for smoking cessation, tobacco withdrawal, relapse after quitting and tobacco advertising.

He coordinated an evaluation of one of the nation’s first smoking-cessation telephone quit lines while at the University of Rochester as a research associate in the mid-1980s.

In 1989, he joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health, first as an epidemiologist and later serving as chief of the Epidemiology Branch. While there, he published extensively on the epidemiology of tobacco use and dependence, contributing to multiple reports of the Surgeon General.

When he returned to Roswell Park in 1999, he conducted research on several topics, including state tobacco-control programs and policies, tobacco products and youth smoking cessation. He also served on the Institute of Medicine Committee that produced the report “Clearing the Smoke: Assessing the Science Base for Tobacco Harm Reduction.”

Since joining UB in 2006, Giovino has expanded his work to include studies of childhood maltreatment, tobacco use and dependence, and possible influences of dietary patterns on tobacco dependence and cessation.

Panasci winners take second in statewide competition

Published May 7, 2015

PhotoZyne, the startup led by three UB graduate students that won this year’s Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC), has done it again — this time at the state level.

Michael Bisogno, an MD/MBA student; Kevin Carter, a master’s student in biomedical engineering; and Jonathan Smyth, a third-year law student, won second place and a $5,000 cash prize in the New York Business Plan Competition for their company that offers an effective and minimally invasive way to deliver cancer treatments.

The student entrepreneurs competed against more than 500 student-led teams from 65 colleges and universities across the state in the sixth annual competition, presented by SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the University at Albany School of Business, and Syracuse University.

A panel of national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers and entrepreneurs selected the winning teams.

Earlier this month, PhotoZyne captured first place in UB’s Panasci TEC, collecting $25,000 in startup capital and more than $27,000 worth of in-kind services for the venture.

With the startup’s technology, a “smart” nanoballoon safely delivers cancer treatments intravenously to solid tumors, and the drug is then activated by exposure to a special laser light probe. The creators say the focused delivery helps decrease recurrence, resistance and side effects, and will improve survival rates.

Krovi receives tourism award

Published May 7, 2015

Venkat Krovi, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has received a Distinguished Service Award at the 5th annual National Travel & Tourism Beacon Awards, held May 4  at the in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Krovi led UB efforts to bring an American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ conference to Buffalo last summer. The event had a $1.4 million economic impact in Western New York, according to Visit Buffalo Niagara.

Zhang wins first prize in bioengineering poster contest

Published April 30, 2015

Yumiao Zhang, a PhD student in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering, won the first-place prize out of a field of 150 entrants for his poster presentation last month at the 41st Northeast Bioengineering Conference (NEBEC 2015).

Zhang’s poster, “Frozen Naphthalocyanine micelles for Intestinal Imaging,” presents a new,noninvasive method to image intestine function. By engineering nanoparticles with extremely high color content, their motion could be traced noninvasively in the intestine using an imaging technique called photoacoustic tomography.

This method eventually could lead to better diagnosis of conditions like Crohn’s disease, or be used for colonoscopy screening procedures.

Zhang, a student in the lab of Jonathan Lovell, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, led the research, which involved a multidisciplinary team from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; POSTECH University in Korea and McMaster University in Canada.

The first-place prize comes with a $500 cash prize.